The warmth and humidity today (and climatic conditions in general) have made Sunday 15th July the first "Flying Ant Day" of 2007 in West Berkshire anyway.
I've posted that fact on the WAB site and asked if it was also occurring in other parts of the country.
Time will tell, though I know its happening in SE London and the Kent border today also.
In case you weren't sure, the Common Black Garden Ant, commonly seen as flightless workers, will wait until weather conditions are just right in July or August, and then the sexually active males and females - double the size of the worker ants and with wings, will erupt from the undergound nests in great numbers.
These are nuptial flights, and only happen once or twice a year sometimes.
The males and females will mate, the males then die, whereas the females find a suitable location for a new nest, and soon a new colony will begin.
I took 2 photos of 2 "Flying Ants" this afternoon - in the second, I'm afraid a young, small, Walnut Orb Weaver Spider (see earlier post) had caught the Flying Ant. I think this is a (bigger) female ant, but if it was a male, I do hope it managed 'the nuptials' first.
Imagine spending your entire life being cooped-up underground, waiting for one day, THE one day, your LAST day of life, when you'll escape, find a female and indulge in a spot of ant-love.
That day arrives, you escape, and immediately get caught and eaten by a spider...!
Aaah... the brutal reality of the natural world!
NB. 16/07/07 7:30am. Well, the "Flying Ant Day" post on the WAB site seemed very popular yesterday, I've had 12 replies so far, mainly from the south east of England.
The Ants did all erupt yesteday, it seems, from London, Dorset, Kent, Essex and Sussex.
20/07/07 22 replies now, the ants have not flown from the midlands north yet, it would seem, but last sunday was The "big day" down south.